Remember how dominant Jace Owen was on his Ti Lube Honda in Amsoil Arenacross back in 2017? The dude won 17 main events in what has got to be one of the most dominating performances whether or not your name is Buddy Antunez or Tyler Bowers. The points reset hurt him in the long run as his 42 point lead went down to 1 and one bad race cost him that championship.
I’ve been doing interviews and writing Owen’s journey here and there since he turned pro in 2014, but I think Chili Dog has been filming him since birth. He’s a friend of Vurb at this point and I made him tell me how stoked he was that we ARE back and better than ever. Here’s what Owen had to say about us:
“It’s pretty wild man! Back in my amateur days, there was nothing like Vurb. The content and videos were unreal and then when they busted out some of the platinum videos, it even went to another level. I remember being out in Cali and getting to do one at Barona Oaks. That would have had to be like 10 years ago or so. Damn, I’m getting old!”
This past season was supposed to be all-time for, we call him JO Dog now. He changed brands for the first time since turning pro and moved to a ClubMX Yamaha from a Phoenix Honda ride. His highest of highs came from winning the 2019 Kicker Arenacross Championship by winning every main event that season, except the last one. Since then, JO Dog has had a pretty rough go due to fighting injuries. Owen’s 2021 West Region Supercross season was cut short due to a torn ACL and meniscus, as well as a broken ankle.
I don’t know about you, but if I tear all my stuff AND break my ankle, I’d be calling it a day. All these racers are built differently, though. Owen still knows that he still hasn’t shown what he has to offer.
“My main goal is to be a contender in the 250 class,” he told me. “I went into Orlando feeling really fit and gelling with the bike. I had a tough round one, but still managed to get 10th. The following Tuesday I was practicing with the ClubMX boys, and I had a super small crash and ended up tearing my ACL and meniscus.”
Owen still felt that he owed it to himself that he would try to race the rest of the series. He skipped Daytona, went to Dallas and struggled with his knee popping in and out, and then at Atlanta 3 his right ankle gave out. Owen said the doctor’s believed it was due to the lack of strength in his right leg due to the ACL injury. He had his ACL/meniscus surgery on April 30th and went under again on August 10th to get his ankle repaired. It was his second ACL tear on his right knee in three years.
The good news is that after a long summer, JO can get back on the bike on December 1st. He’s mentally ready to overcome these injuries and fired up to show what he can do in Supercross. His past Arenacross success and results are keeping him motivated. He had built himself up from a rookie in 2014 on a shoestring privateer effort to factory teams calling him for tryouts. He knows he can get to that level again, only this time in SX.
“I have a different outlook for 2022 and I’m in a very good place with a very good support system behind me,” JO Dog said. “ClubMX Yamaha and myself will be strong next season. I feel like I’m racing for one of the top teams. They have supported me through my injuries and let me take the necessary time off that I needed. It’s nice to know that they believe in my ability as much as I believe in myself. Also, [IAMACOMEBACK] Mark and Kurt Jennison have been a huge asset to my career this year.”
As of right now, Troy Dog is working on somehow riding a ClubMX Yamaha for scientific research purposes. I just want to ride the bike around for a few laps, you know, to see how she feels. I think Owen and Brandon Haas at Club will help me make that happen, right? Owen left me with this last piece of wisdom and I’m jonesin’ to make it happen…
“Our setup is next level! It’s not just the way we look, it’s the entire setup,” JO Dog concluded. “The bike is really good! They were fast this season and I know they will be even better next. I can’t wait to throw my leg over one and listen to it bark!”
Main image: Mike Vizer